English is not only a fundamental subject for developing communication skills, it is also central to students’ academic, social, moral and spiritual development. Young people studying English are encouraged to examine the splendour, power and scope of language, empowering them to explore and understand the world, other people and themselves from an early age. From Year 7, English students are inspired to communicate their ideas, values and beliefs both orally and in writing; this form of self-expression is something that makes English invaluable in helping students gain confidence. English lessons also focus on the fascinatingly complex world of spelling, punctuation and grammar. In a world full of ambiguity and obscurity, students need to be able to express themselves clearly and effectively. With that in mind, one lesson a week at KS3 is dedicated to improving literacy; students are given valuable time to consolidate their understanding of spelling, punctuation and grammar, and time to practise using English accurately.
Reading is also at the heart of the English curriculum. Students study a range of classical and modern literature in lessons across all year groups. Good reading habits are fostered from Year 7 through the Accelerated Reading programme. Our aim in English is to encourage students to reject texts that promote self-interest and immorality. Instead, we promote the Core Values through studying literary and non-fiction texts that allow students to consider Biblical principles of discipline, compassion, redemption and forgiveness. Students also read about people from different cultures and, occasionally, about those with different beliefs to the ones upheld at Emmanuel; through reading a variety of texts from different periods and cultures, students are encouraged to respect others whilst also remaining firm in their own beliefs.
Finally, in the words of the linguist David Crystal, we study English because it is ‘important…beautiful…useful…and fun!’